As lockdowns took over office after office worldwide, plenty of people found themselves unexpectedly working from home. If you didn’t already have a home office set up in place, chances are you found yourself scrambling to put together a practical area to get your work done.
For many, it was a matter of simply making do. But as modern offices now start to incorporate working-from-home options into their regular operations, a makeshift setup simply won’t do anymore. Read on for our tips on how to create an ergonomic home office for better health and well-being.
This blog provides practical advice on how to create an ergonomic home office in easy, affordable ways. For personalised advice, contact our team at Excel Body and Health today.
What is Ergonomics?
So, you might be wondering what ‘home office ergonomics’ actually refers to. Simply put, ergonomics is the study of how a work environment affects the person using it regularly. Creating an ergonomic office space essentially means that you’re optimising the environment to cater to your individual physical and mental needs, individualising the area to mitigate unnecessary pain or discomfort.
In terms of home offices, strong ergonomic design means that your necessary prolonged positions (such as sitting in front of your computer and working at a desk) are designed to be tolerable and prevent negative physical consequences.
Health Risks of Working From Home
Our bodies are not designed to sit as much as many office jobs require. While health consequences from the office lifestyle such as back pain or shoulder tension have always been an issue, working from home massively increases risk. Most of us, after all, don’t have the furniture and resources that our commercial offices do.
Our makeshift desks and chair set-ups aren’t purposefully designed like many professional office spaces are, and the tiny ergonomic details we might miss could be detrimental to our bodies. Improper home office set-ups could lead to health consequences such as:
- Strained vision and ongoing sight problems
- Poor circulation
- Poor posture
- Lower back pain
- Shoulder pain
- Neck issues
- Headaches and migraines
- Strained muscles
Easy Home Office Improvements
Here’s the most important thing to remember when setting up your workstation – a home office should be adjusted to suit your body. Your body should not adjust to suit a home office. The size and shape of your body should be catered to by your workstation, and taking practical steps to improve your comfort is not only going to keep you healthy and functioning, but will also improve productivity.
So, here are some of our top tips for great home office ergonomics!
Invest in a Great Chair
Office chairs can be make or break. Ensuring you have proper back support and appropriate settings to keep your knees at a clean right angle is essential to supporting your posture and health. When working from home for the foreseeable future, investing in a supportive chair would be a worthwhile decision.
If you’re not looking to purchase any furniture, there are plenty of easy ways you can improve your home office chair laying all around the house! Place a small cushion or rolled-up towel behind the curve of your back for added lumbar support, and consider sitting on something soft for increased comfort.
When it comes to ergonomics, slouching is your enemy! To avoid neck, back, and shoulder issues from slouching down for long periods while working, ensure you’re sitting with your desk at the appropriate height. The surface of your desk should be at elbow height when sitting, and you should endeavour to work with your shoulders pressed back.
When working in a communal office, there are opportunities to get up and move around. Mingling, taking breaks, heading off to meetings – all these things get you to adjust your physical position and ensure you aren’t staying locked up for too long. When working from home, these organic opportunities aren’t there. So, it’s up to you to make a conscious effort to shift yourself about. Why not get up, move around, and change how you’re working every hour?
The position of your monitor is vital to supporting your neck and ensuring you aren’t naturally inclined to use poor posture for hours on end. We recommend making sure your monitor sits at eye level. Prop it up with books if need be, and keep it about an arm’s length away.
So many health issues can be prevented by ensuring you get plenty of opportunities to exercise. Whenever you get the opportunity, ensure you get on your feet and make a conscious effort to get blood flowing. Head out into the fresh air and give yourself a break – the added endorphins are bound to increase productivity for the rest of your day!
Book a Physio Appointment to Address Any Health Concerns
Implementing these strategies into your home workspace will work wonders for your health. If you’re already facing physical pain or concerns due to poor home office ergonomics, don’t just live with your discomfort. Visiting a physio can help find the root cause of your pain, and come up with further individualised strategies to prevent further damage.
Here at Excel Body and Health, we work hard to provide physio care tailored entirely to your body and the unique specifics of your situation. Book an appointment with one of our friendly physios today, and let’s get your health back on track!